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Plumbing Checklist for Home Buyers

You have your eye on a new home, and everything seems perfect, so it's time get down to examining the not-so-obvious functional features, specifically the plumbing. Plumbing problems in a home do affect its overall value. Certain features should be assessed by you or a plumbing professional before you ever make an offer. Here are five things to check about a home's plumbing before you buy it. 

1. Hot Water Heater

Overall, the hot water heater should be an updated model that you won't have to soon replace. Check to make sure the water heater:

  • Supplies hot water rather quickly when you turn on the faucet.
  • Does not have any leaks or signs of leaks.
  • Is not making any odd noises, such as hissing or rattling.

A new hot water can run anywhere from several hundred dollars to a few thousand. So a water heater is one of the more costly plumbing elements and should be checked out before you buy a house.

2. Drainage Points

Drainage issues are not something you want to inherit with a new home. Some problems are easy fixes, such as a basic clogged drainage line. However, there can be issues with drainage that affect everything about the functionality of the plumbing system. Make sure you take the time to:

  • Run water into sink drains.
  • Test the drains in showers and tubs.
  • Pour water into washing machine drain lines.
  • Test floor drains in the basement.

If you run into problems with drains, these issues should be brought up to the realtor or seller. In most cases, they will ensure the issue is fixed before you make an offer.

3. Septic System

Septic system problems could be deemed as one of the most common problems homebuyers find after they buy a home. Septic problems can be hard to pinpoint without regular use, so if a home is vacant, problems may not show as they would if the house was occupied. However, you can check to make sure:

  • Toilets flush without issues.
  • The septic tank has been pumped regularly.
  • There are no signs of effluent outside around the tank's location.

Additionally, find out what type of septic tank is in place and when it was installed. A concrete septic tank can last about 40 years, but some tanks aren't as long-lived, such as steel tanks that last around 15 to 20 years.

4. Pipes

Examine the pipes in various points of the house. Check under the sinks, in the basement, and even in the crawlspace if you can. Determine what type of plumbing lines are in places, such as copper or PVC, and get a general idea of the condition or age of the lines. Be alert to signs of puddles or moisture, but also pay attention to signs of mold that can mean water leaks occurred in the past.

5. Toilet, Faucets, and Fixtures

If the water is off in the home when you visit it, ask that the water be turned on so you can test certain fixtures, especially the toilets and faucets. Make sure the faucets are updated and not leaking, and do the same with the toilets. Even though these issues are easy to fix, they are problems you should expect upfront before you move in.

Small issues with leaking fixtures can be costly. Just one faucet leaking 10 drips per minute can mean you will lose 347 gallons per year, according to the U.S Geological Survey's drip calculator and one leaking toilet can lose 200 gallons of water per day.

The more time you spend examining the plumbing aspects of a home before making an offer, the less likely it will be that you end up in a home that needs expensive plumbing upgrades you didn't know about. For advice or professional help with assessing plumbing fixtures in a home, reach out to us at Cleary Plumbing & Air.